Word of the Week: リア充

It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last time we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘yo’ (よ), focussing on よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu), which is a uniquely Japanese phrase that is quite hard to translate. Often it is translated as ‘please be kind to me (as I will be to you)’, but there’s more to it than that. This week, after a taking a week off, I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with either ‘ra’ (ら) or ‘ri’ (り). A big thank you for the suggestions I received this week:

Japan Australia suggested ‘rakki’ (ラッキー), a slang tern that comes from the English word ‘lucky’; ‘raku na’ (楽な), ‘easy’; and ‘riaju’ (リア充), a modern term for having a successful or fulfilling life; and Rockin’ suggested ‘ryoushinteki’ (良心的 / りょうしんてき), ‘honest’.

There were some great ideas this week, and in the end I decided to write about…



I had not heard this word ‘riaju’ (リア充) as suggested by Japan Australia before, but when I started to look into it I found it utterly fascinating. Immediately I could tell that the word was likely to be a modern, hybrid kind of word, as it’s made up of an unusual mix of katakana (リア) and kanji (充) (you don’t usually see the two scripts forming one word). The katakana リア comes from the word リアル – a katakana-isation of the English word ‘real’. The kanji (充) , read in this case by its on-yomi as ‘jyuu’, means ‘fill’ and is short for ‘jyuujitsu’ (充実 / じゅうじつ), meaning ‘fullness’.

‘Riaju’ is a word which was coined on the popular Japanese chat site 2channel (2ch / 2ちゃんねる) in or around 2005 (source: Wikipedia). According to this site, ‘riaju’ is an abbreviation of ‘riaru ga jyujitsu shiteiru’ (リアルが充実している), or ‘to be satisfied with your real life’. Basically, the phrase ‘riaju’ refers to the idea of being satisfied with your real life or leading a full real life, as opposed to your online life.

This might seem like a bit of an odd concept, but there are some people (especially in Japan) who lead fuller, more satisfying online lives than offline/real lives. Some people have never had a real girlfriend or boyfriend, and use dating sims instead. Some people don’t have any real-life friends, just 2D characters to play with online. According to this site again, the opposite of ‘riaju’ is ‘hi-riaju’ (非リア充) – this would be someone who is obsessed with their online life to the point of having nothing satisfying in their real life.

This pretty much sums it up:


みんなだまされるな。 ほんとのリアじゅうは 「リアじゅう」なんてことば ぜったい しらないぞ。
Guys, let’s not fool ourselves. People who really have a good offline life don’t know words like ‘riaju’.

(Image source)

So, how about you, are you a ‘riaju’? How’s your ‘real life’ compared to your online life? Personally, I think I have a fairly healthy balance. Although I spend a lot of time online, I have plenty of friends in real life and although I know people online that I have never met in real life they are not my close friends or the only people I depend on. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having an online life as well as an offline life, but I do think it’s important to keen relationships real. A colleague was recently telling me about her online dating and how the guy she’d met had suggested meeting quite quickly to ‘keep things real’. Sounds like that guy had his head screwed on at least!

riajyu ni naritai

Riajyu ni naritai
I want to become a real-lifer

(Image source)


Next week will be about a word or phrase beginning with ‘ru’ (る), so please leave your suggestions below. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression (slang and dialect are fine too!), but no nouns please! I have a feeling this could be a tough one, but I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v

Word of the Week 2014

5 thoughts on “Word of the Week: リア充

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